Little Lauren would not be the happy, healthy child that she is today without the generosity and love of her donor families, and April – “National Donate Life Month” – is the perfect time to share the story of Lauren’s miraculous transplant journey.
Lauren and her twin brother, Owen, were born in May 2006. Both babies were very happy, but both babies were jaundiced. Owen’s jaundice quickly resolved; Lauren’s did not. When the twins were two-months-old, Lauren was diagnosed with biliary atresia -- a devastating diagnosis that requires a liver transplant for the child to survive. Lauren’s first year of life was full of doctors, procedures, infections and lots of waiting. The twins’ first birthday was spent in an intensive care unit.
Jim and Suzanne Seiders received ‘the call’ that officially began Lauren’s transplant journey on July 11, 2007. Lauren’s transplant occurred that day, but it was quickly apparent the donor liver was not a match. Due to the severity of Lauren’s condition, she was listed as status one in the entire country and 14 days later on July 25th, she received her second liver transplant ... and her second chance at life.
It was during these agonizing days that a family member contacted the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to see how family members and friends could get involved in helping the Seiders with the financial end of what they were facing. According to Suzanne, “COTA gave us an incredible sense of peace during these very stressful days.”
“Every day I feel like I witness a miracle with Lauren. Her first liver was not a good fit, but it was a miracle it kept working until she could receive a second liver transplant.”
On July 26, 2008, Suzanne Seiders posted an update on Lauren’s COTA website blog (www.COTAforLaurenS.com) that read, “Today we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Lauren receiving her second chance at life. I cannot believe it has been a year -- and then sometimes it seems like an eternity. There is underlying sadness for the family of Lauren’s donor family who is marking this anniversary in a very different way. I think about them
Suzanne went on in the July entry to describe how well Lauren was doing. Walking ... eating large meals of waffles, yogurt, her beloved strawberries ... and talking non-stop. On September 3rd, Suzanne posted, “Lauren continues to be the happiest, bossiest little girl around ... She is starting to run slowly and continues to try and do everything her brothers do. Lauren continues to meet all her milestones developmentally.”
And then life changed. On October 18th, Suzanne posted, “It is amazing how quickly things can change in a matter of weeks.” Since Suzanne’s September 3rd posting ... it was discovered that Lauren’s portal vein was blocked and several procedures were done
over a series of days. Lauren’s condition worsened throughout the days of fall. Finally, on December 4, 2008, Lauren received a multivisceral transplant and a kidney transplant.
On December 5th Suzanne wrote, “Her surgery went better than expected and while
we realize she is certainly not out of the woods, at this point we are one step closer
Lauren left Riley’s Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and returned home in late January.
A true miracle.
Suzanne posted this message on March 4th, “Today marks the 3rd month post-transplant for Little (Lauren’s nickname). Thank God she continues to gain strength and improve every day. The boys are doing well and have a bad case of cabin fever. I am getting back into the swing of things. So nothing but good from the Seiders’ home this week.”
Today, Lauren is a feisty little girl who has captured the hearts of not only the little men in the Seiders’ home, but the entire community. Her infectious smile is an indication that she knows she was given an incredible gift -- the gift of life.
Please visit www.COTAforLaurenS.com and leave the Seiders
your own message
of encouragement, or make a donation to help with ongoing
Can you remember someone who touched your life with the way they cared for others? William Mauskopf of Saratoga, California, does.
A few years ago William's aunt, Ann M. Wiener, passed away leaving a legacy that impacted charitable organizations she was involved with over the years. "My aunt was active in many organizations, up until she died at the age of 101," said William. "She was a generous woman who made provisions in her estate for a number of organizations, including the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) that she felt were making a difference in the lives of the people they served."
Mrs. Wiener was born in New York City, and was a world traveler who made her home in the New York and New Jersey area for most of her life. Even though she had no children of her own, she cared for others as if they were her own.
"My heart soars, and I am frequently amazed by the generous acts of caring individuals like Mrs. Wiener," said COTA President Rick Lofgren. "Even though she did not know any of our patients personally, she felt compelled to help where she could."
"Since 1986 our patients have been the beneficiaries of the kindness of many, like Mrs. Wiener, who made a decision to get involved in the life of others," said Lofgren.
If you would like additional information on making an estate or memorial contribution, please contact Rick Lofgren at 800.366.2682 or
Individuals are welcome to make donations in honor of a specific patient campaign, or to any patient where the assistance is most needed.
Example Bequest Language
(Please feel free to change the numbers or percentages as you desire.)
Bequest of cash: "I bequeath the sum of $10,000 to the Children's Organ Transplant Association of Bloomington, Indiana."
Bequest of a percent of the estate: "I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to the Children's Organ Transplant Association, Bloomington, Indiana."
Contingent Bequest: "If my brother John Doe survives me, I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to John Doe. If John Doe does not survive me, then I devise and bequeath 20% of my residuary estate, whether real or personal property and wherever located to the Children's Organ Transplant Association, Bloomington, Indiana."
Midsummer Day is an ancient festival that has been celebrated for hundreds of years. The festival marks the longest day of the year; in 2009 the day falls on June 24th. Midsummer Day festival has always been known for a time of feasting, dancing and celebration. Indeed, the perfect day on which to organize a summer fundraising event!
Adding the perfect summer tastes to a Midsummer Day festival, or to any community fundraising event, is a great way to draw families to support your effort. Here are some ideas, some resources and even a few fun food facts to get your mouth watering, and to get your summer fundraising event committee thinking and planning:
Americans eat 633 hot dogs per second. Believe it or not, this is a conservative estimate. “Americans eat about 20 billion hot dogs every year”, says Janet Riley, President of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “But that figure does not include sales from Wal-Mart, sporting events or street vendors -- all of which do not disclose sales data.”
Selling this popular food is wallet friendly to your event budget. A typical hotdog can sell for at least $1.00 but should actually cost your team no more than 25¢, including bun and all the fixings. Another bonus sure to boost sales is letting your attendees know that the average hot dog packs just 148 calories, while a slice of cheese pizza weighs in at 270 calories, or more.
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” A popular childhood chant, and a popular summer treat for all generations. No matter in a cone, in a bowl or on a stick, ice cream is a choice to consider including on your Midsummer Day festival menu. While serving ice cream products will require some logistics such as freezers and food licensing (if your volunteers are doing the ‘scooping’), your proceeds may outweigh the details. Even better yet, you can apply to win the product you turnaround and sell.
Edy’s Slow Churned Light Block Party. Simply log onto www.SlowChurned.com to apply to be one of the 1,500 U.S. groups/neighborhoods that will win a doorstop delivery of Edy’s ice cream and all the fixings to serve up to a 100 people. Applications will be accepted through May 29, 2009.
Who can resist the kid selling refreshing, fresh-squeezed lemonade? Sunkist Take a Stand. Simply apply at www.sunkist.com to win a free lemonade stand kit from Sunkist. In 2008 Sunkist gave away more than 20,000 kits to kids nationwide (a child must apply for the kit… which is a great way to involve youth in your fundraising). Kits include: signage, recipes, sales tips, and a cardboard stand. Just add water, ice, lemons and your COTA sales pitch.
Brownies, cookies and cupcakes … finger licking good. Bake sales are a good fundraiser in the summer when folks want portable treats, but do not want to heat up their own kitchens baking them. To plan a successful bake sale fundraiser, you can get information from a website sponsored by Domino Sugar and C&H Sugar. Check out the tips, recipes and success stories at www.GreatAmericanBakeSale.org. The site is focused on helping end childhood hunger, but also offers ideas you can use to raise funds as you work toward providing hope and making miracles for COTA patients.
If you do decide to plan a Midsummer Day festival on June 24th, consider this sales item: Midsummer Dew. One of the stories tied to the ancient celebration of Midsummer Day is the magical properties of midsummer dew. How about collecting some midsummer dew in little bottles and selling it to ‘the slugbugs’ who do not get out of bed early enough to see and feel the fresh dew on the grass? This is a little silly, but it is a cute and unique addition to your fundraiser/celebration. Use a sales pitch such as: “One dab of our special Midsummer Dew and you are sure to have a good day!” And to help close the sale, remind your participants that Midsummer Day is the longest day of the year … everyone will definitely need the boost of this magical dew to make it through.
If you, or your organization, hosts an event that generates proceeds for COTA, or if you would like more ideas about how to plan a COTA Miracle Maker fundraiser, please contact us at 800.366.2682 or log onto www.cota.org and click on the ‘Raise Funds’ link.
COTA makes it easy to turn in the proceeds from your efforts. Please send all checks to COTA at:
One Million Miracles
Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA)
2501 West COTA Drive
Bloomington, Indiana 47403
Deposit fundraising funds that are cash to one of these banks, making sure whoever is depositing the proceeds has the account number to give to the bank teller.
The question is truly as simple as that. If you could help make a miracle for a child, would you? If your answer is ‘yes’, we invite you to join a growing group of individuals, called COTA Miracle Makers, who are helping give children and young adults across the country a second chance at life.
The COTA Miracle Makers program has four different membership options that you can chose from:
a. Volunteer for a campaign for at least 10 hours per year
b. Volunteer to help COTA for at least 10 hours per year
a. Make a gift to a campaign of at least $100 each year
b. Make a gift to COTA of at least $100 each year
a. Pay an annual membership of $50
a. Recruit at least 10 new Miracle Makers each year.
The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) provides: Ongoing Support ... Before, During and After the Campaign
Throughout the community fundraising campaign, the Children’s Organ Transplant Association assists families and volunteers through printed materials, telephone support, media and publicity resources, training meetings, no-cost websites and web-based fundraising materials. COTA works closely with families to make sure their needs are being met. Although the active community fundraising typically lasts less than a year, COTA’s relationship with the family spans the lifetime of the patient.